Make Love, Not War

posted on September 6, 2015 by Molly Daley Molly Daley

Our society has convinced women that fighting our bodies is an inherent part of being a woman.

The makeup industry tells us that we are too plain, so we paint, pluck, and straighten.[1]  The fashion industry tells us we are too big (or too small), so we diet, cleanse, and artificially tighten (or pad).[2]  The entertainment industry tells us we are too boring, so we take selfies, record our lives on social media, and Photoshop every picture. Is it any wonder that we have deeply rooted and widespread body image issues?

We wage war on our bodies because we have been taught that it is the only way to achieve and maintain the bodies we want. Since the sexual revolution, one of the most powerful ways women engage in this battle is by using artificial contraception. Think about it: women swallow pills, insert rings, and implant devices because we wish our bodies worked differently.

Make love not war Natural Womanhood

NYC Love by T. Germeau. http://bit.ly/1M4eklm

It’s a war against women’s bodies, and it’s time for peace. Women will be in a better position to reach societal equality when we have made peace with ourselves. To declare peace, however, we must understand the war we have been fighting. The women who have been fighting their bodies have often done so with the very best of intentions. It is widely believed that to have a successful relationship and plan a family in a responsible manner, couples must use artificial birth control. Successful relationships and responsible parenthood are not only noble goals, but also the components that form the very foundation of any healthy society. Thus, women take on the burden of choosing and using artificial contraception because they are trying their best to take care of themselves, their families, and their communities.

Have you ever wondered if (or wished that) there was another way? There is.

Fertility Awareness-Based Methods offer men and women another choice. These methods teach men and women the intricate and beautiful details about how their bodies work. With this knowledge, couples are able to postpone or achieve pregnancy by making observations about their natural biological cycles and using this information to determine whether the woman is fertile or infertile. (Men are always fertile!)  Fertility Awareness-Based Methods are an empowering and healthy way to family plan without any artificial chemicals, drugs, or products. There aren’t any dangerous side effects or risks, and usage does not leave an environmental footprint. Thankfully, these methods do not force us to compromise our desire for effectiveness. Modern fertility awareness methods are between 95-99% effective at preventing pregnancy (which places them alongside, or even ahead of, artificial forms of contraception).

We have been battling our bodies because we don’t know what our bodies can do. Knowing our bodies enables us to stop fighting them. If you learn about the powerful things your body does, you will begin to respect your body. Respecting your body will naturally transform into being thankful for your body. In turn, being thankful for your body will place you on the path towards loving your body. I can’t think of a healthier reason to love your body than because you understand the dazzling powers your body naturally has.

It’s powerful when we loosen the control that the makeup, fashion, and entertainment industries have over our bodies, but it’s life-changing when we say goodbye to artificial birth control. Our bodies are enough. We are enough. And we are incredible.

Fertility Awareness and Natural Family Planning empower every woman to declare her own armistice day. Let’s make love, not war.

Molly Daley

[1] The Organic Monitor projects that cosmetic sales in the United States and Europe will reach 15 billion dollars in 2015.  http://www.loc.gov/rr/business/BERA/issue17/current.html

[2] According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to diet to control their weight.  http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

Posted by Molly Daley Molly Daley
Molly Marie Daley received her bachelors degree in Religious Studies and Arabic from The College of William and Mary, and holds a Juris Doctor from The University of Maryland School of Law. A few short weeks before the bar exam, she decided to forego a traditional law career in exchange for an adventure in promoting fertility awareness and natural family planning. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her very patient husband Nick.
  • Anna Camacho

    I love this article. I teach Creighton System and women really do become empowered!

    • Molly Daley

      Thanks, Anna. I appreciate your support. Thanks for the work you do empowering women!

  • Dr. Foss, M.D., Ph.D., MPH

    By your logic, the use of any pharmaceutical products is promoting disrespect for the body. We know that not everybody’s body operates perfectly at all times (read: cancer). Modern science has allowed us to improve this functioning.

    By your logic, someone with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. is not harnessing the power of their body (and going so far as to not love their body) if he/she chooses to take FDA approved drugs currently on the market.

    While somebody may choose to forego modern science to postpone/achieve pregnancy, we shouldn’t shame those who choose to use effective, mainstream birth control methods (natural family planning with “typical use” have a 24% failure rate compared to IUDs that have .2% failure rate over the course of a year, as stated by the CDC).

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking legal, highly effective birth control to help a woman and her partner prevent pregnancy, just like there is nothing wrong with using fertility drugs to help a woman become pregnant.

    • Anna Camacho

      The point of this discussion is that you are taking chemicals against a normal body function. Your examples are medical treatments for abnormalities-treating illness which most of us can agree is acceptable. Also there are different forms of NFP some with higher use effectiveness than others. I am sure the CDC did not analyze each NFP method individually. And NFP has no side effects…IUD can cause PID, perforation, etc not to mention the additional adverse effects with the ones that have hormones in them. Fertility is the only normal body function in which medicine, we try to make it abnormal-an illness. That is what this article is talking about. And there are medical providers who don’t even offer their patients NFP as a means of family planning or say it’s not effective basing research or statistics off outdated NFP methods.

    • disqus_HXPuP9E9zS

      Dear Dr. Foss:

      Your first paragraph is the following:

      “By your logic, the use of any pharmaceutical products is promoting disrespect for the body. We know that not everybody’s body operates perfectly at all times (read: cancer). Modern science has allowed us to improve this functioning.”

      Opponents of artificial birth control – and by “artificial” I mean that which is opposed to the teleology of human sexuality (the purpose or purposes of human sexuality: the unitive and procreative) – frequently remark that it induces a physiological malfunction or anatomical obstruction when there is no underlying illness. Artificial birth control exists to establish a diseased state – infertility. It does so by poisoning or monkey wrenching human physiology or anatomy, usually a woman’s. Yet you seem to think that artificial birth control improves functioning. How bizarre.

      Do you take a drug, insert a device or make some other intervention to subvert your health? Perhaps you do, but I do not and would not call the use of such a drug, device or intervention medicine or health care (note I am not talking about use of birth control drugs for treatment of endometriosis, e.g.). Rather these are lifestyle drugs, lifestyle devices and lifestyle interventions.

      You also assert that opponents of artificial birth control are “forgo[ing] modern science” yet you strike me as one mired in the 1960s, a time of moonshots, psychedelia and great hope in technology and medicine. Then, advocates for artificial birth control declared that these lifestyle drugs, devices and interventions would prevent out-of-wedlock births, abortion, child abuse, divorce, adultery and more.

      The data are in. After decades of widespread use of these artificial methods, the reported rates of out-of-wedlock births, abortion, child abuse, and divorce have not fallen but have moon rocketed (as have the rates of transmission of sexual diseases). Not groovy. While rates of adultery are difficult to obtain, you may suspect as I do that they have increased. In the USA, unmarried women procure more than 80% of abortions; of the remaining less than 20% of abortions (those procured by married women), a significant percentage may be by women impregnated by men to whom they are not married: abortion in the USA is overwhelmingly a consequence of sex between people unmarried to each other.

      Further, the majority of women having abortions in the USA were using a “contraceptive” drug or device when they conceived the child they aborted (many so called “contraceptives,” besides failing to prevent conception, may also cause a very early abortion); a greater majority were experienced “contraceptive” users but some abandoned these drugs or devices, often because of their side effects which frequently include depression, weight gain and decreased sex drive, for just three examples. How ironic. Should we be surprised by such unintended effects when the intended effect is to produce a diseased state? Might these effects – intended (infertility) and unintended (depression, weight gain and decreased sex drive) – have something to do with adultery and divorce?

      The sexual revolution has not so much been tried on an enormous scale and found wanting as it has been tried on an enormous scale and found disastrous. While economic and other factors contributed, that revolution has been fueled largely by the use of artificial “contraceptives.” How much worse must things get before those such as yourself still clinging to great hopes for these lifestyle drugs, devices and interventions rid the moon dust from their eyes and shake the psychedelic dust from their bell bottoms?

    • Terese

      Dr. Foss,
      first I concur with Anna, our fertility is not a disease but a state of health, yet is treated like one by today’s medicine. Of course we need modern pharmaceuticals to treat disease. I’ve seen the “study” that gives NFP a 24% effectiveness rate-it lumps withdrawal, calendar/rhythm method, cycle beads, which are not based on objective biological markers of fertility (nor even considered amongst today’s science based FAM’s), with a variety of natural methods that are. Anyone trained to recognize solid research would never cite that study, and I respectfully assume that would include you had you known the study itself. A simple Google search by specific method will yield much better research and effectiveness rates of modern FAMs that rival or surpass oral contraceptives.
      While there is “effective, mainstream birth control” it is a disservice to many, many women to dismiss the reality of it’s side effects. I’ve work in an OB/Gyn office and witnessed these side effects on a regular basis. Women were miserable and desperate for a better way, which thankfully, we offered with FAMs. I witnessed hundreds of women empowered, regain their health, even restore relationships, by leaving artificial contraception and using a FAM.
      I myself have enjoyed managing my entire reproductive life, through menopause, with 100% effectiveness-avoiding when we needed to avoid, achieving when we hoped to add another life to our family. Our method (Creighton Model) also allowed me to quickly identify (and treat) the cause of unusual bleeding, and offered a cooperative approach to eliminate my PMS and later, to mitigate the peri-menopausal upheaval of ebbing hormones.
      Dr. Foss, please consider attending one of the many professional conferences offered by the FAMs. You might be surprised by the solid medicine presented and the predominantly medical audience you find there, and less surprised when women choose this better way.

  • ABMK

    Nicely done. NFP often feels like a cross for me, and this was one of the best explanations I have seen by far!

  • Lillian Dubiel

    …Both the scientist and the feminist inside of me are screaming!

    FIRST of all, from the feminist point of view, it is just outrageous and IMO, “anti-feminist” to suggest that the only way to truly “love your body” is to use natural family planning. How paternalistic, (yes, paternalistic), can you get? I love my IUD, I love not getting my periods, and I love my body, too. My IUD is not “waging war” on my body, it is, in fact, working with my body to wage war against enemy sperm by making my cervix a hostile environment for them. Why do you judge the millions and millions of responsible women who love their birth control and love themselves? (And while we’re at it, I don’t think my wearing mascara means that I hate myself, nor does it make me any less of a pro-body-love feminist than women who choose not to wear make-up)

    SECOND, shame on the author for claiming outright that contraception is “in league with” the industries of fashion, entertainment, etc. What this post calls “artificial,” (whatever that means?), birth control is one of, if not THE, biggest reason that women are now, in the 21st century, able to participate in society to at least the same degree as men. Contraception is regarded as the third “most successful public health intervention of the 20th century” after antibiotics and vaccines. Contraception has liberated us. And moreover, NFP failed to lead to women’s liberation for thousands of years before The Pill finally came along.

    THIRD I don’t know these efficacy numbers are from, but they’re just not correct. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the CDC, fully 24% of “typical users,” (aka, “actual users”, aka the majority of women), of “Fertility awareness-based methods” will be pregnant within one year of use. Even for PERFECT users in controlled clinical trials, (and who’s perfect??), 4.8% using the Standard Days methods will be pregnant in a year, 3.5% using the TwoDay method, 3.2% using the ovulation method, and .4% using the symptothermal method. (For comparison, the Progestin IUD “typical use” failure rate is .2% per year, and the Progestin Implant “typical use” failure rate is .05% per year)

    FOURTH, science. Hormonal contraceptives and the Copper IUD are among the most closely monitored and carefully studied medications that exist in the world today. They are safe and effective, and they have many well-known non-contraceptive benefits as well (short list: reducing risks of ovarian and endometrial cancer, improving symptoms of PMS and PMDD, resolution of iron deficiency anemia, improvement of pain and bleeding during periods, cycle regulation and/or elimination). I mean, I can’t even go into it here- it would be an enormous essay.

    BOTTOM LINE: 50% of all pregnancies that occur in the USA every year are unplanned. Again, HALF OF PREGNANCIES ARE UNPLANNED. So, birth control is an extremely important consideration for all fertile women, and it is a deeply personal choice, also. If natural family planning works for you, that is great. Continue using the method you love. But, don’t patronize the millions of women who make a different choice than you. Maybe measuring their body temperature and cervical mucus just isn’t practical for them. Maybe they want to be able to have intercourse without a condom at all times of the month. Maybe they like spontaneity. Maybe they don’t have a supportive partner. Maybe they want a higher chance of successful pregnancy prevention. Maybe they love not getting a menstrual cycle. And maybe they are not “waging war” on their bodies and they love themselves just as much as you do. Please don’t demonize your fellow women- the world at large is doing that already. We’re all in this together.

    • disqus_HXPuP9E9zS

      Hi Lillian,

      There are so many assertions you make that strike me as wrong but I’ll limit myself to just two responses for the moment.

      First, fertile women have periods, yet you claim that manipulating your body to avoid periods while neutering yourself is somehow feminist. Fascinating. A feminist mindset that promotes de-feminization might hold such an idea, but it is ironic.

      Second, you assert that your IUD is “working with [your] body to wage war against enemy sperm by making [your] cervix a hostile environment for them.” Fascinating. Sperm, which procreate human beings, are an “enemy.” How misandrist of you. Further, the environment may be hostile not only to sperm but also to eggs, unfertilized and fertilized, and in the case of fertilized eggs may induce an early abortion. Maybe you do not care about early abortion but many women do. And no, your IUD is not working with your body but monkey wrenching it to establish a diseased condition, infertility. In fact there are many things your physiology does to join the best sperm to eggs, yet your IUD work against that or its consequence.

      There is much, much, more I find false about your post but that’s all I will address now.